June 11, 2003
"They were in a lot of trouble, and we had run out of treatment options," said William Rom, MD, professor of medicine and environmental medicine at NYU School of Medicine. "Trying the linezolid was a real act of desperation," said Timothy Harkin, MD, assistant professor of medicine and assistant director of Bellevue's chest service. "This certainly seems like a promising medication for multidrug-resistant TB and there is a continuing need for new antibiotics for this disease," he said.
Harkin and Rom said further studies are needed to confirm their case reports, and they hope the drug will be tested in large clinical trials sponsored by the World Health Organization. The NYU physicians presented the cases to colleagues at the 99th International Conference of the American Thoracic Society in Seattle ("Linezolid: A Promising New Agent for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis Treatment," Abstract P621. Presented May 21, 2003).
Linezolid is a new class of antibiotic that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat certain strains of bacteria resistant to standard penicillin and methicillin and to more powerful drugs like vancomycin. It is not approved to treat drug-resistant TB. However, Bellevue doctors decided to try linezolid when all other available therapies, including the most powerful drugs yet available for drug-resistant TB, failed to improve the health of the five patients.